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One Reporter's Opinion: Beware of 'Armchair Generals' and Blathering Anchors

Friday, 15 November 2002 12:00 AM

It is this reporter's opinion that the ink was barely dry on the resolutions admitting inspectors into Iraq before the "armchair generals" and cable anchors began chipping away, suggesting dozens of ways in which Saddam Hussein would violate any agreements.

But should we listen to them?

This newsman is perhaps one of the very few – if not the ONLY one – who knew the four most decorated military men: Sgt. Alvin York of WWI, my buddy Audie Murphy of WWII, Capt. Joe Hooper of Korea and Col. David Hackworth of Vietnam – with us to this moment. I doubt any one of the four would be joining in with some of the cackling hens on cable.

Col. Hackworth and I were just this week discussing the "armchair generals" surrounding our president, who appear on television with their maps and charts and battle plans ... appearing to be giving Saddam a literal roadmap. They give us their version – directions for victory in Iraq.

I can't find among them a veteran of Normandy or Anzio or the bloody battle of Tarawa, Firmosa or Iwo Jima. Yet they perform their daily mission determined to drive us to war ... or at least mold public opinion in that direction.

Meanwhile, it's business as usual. Deals are made, munitions are sold, and the oil flows. As this is being written, an oil tanker – 47,000 tons of fuel aboard – is on the high seas sailing slowly from Singapore to North Korea. And at this moment, representatives of three countries and the European Union are meeting in New York at the headquarters of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization.

You recall that our assistant secretary of state, James Kelly, recently elicited a confession that the North Koreans have continued, in violation of the 1994 agreement, to develop their uranium program and even bragged that they have developed at least three or more nuclear devices with the delivery capability to land one on Alaska and, soon, the West Coast.

Ah, but there's more. In the last six years, Iraq has received more than $56 billion in oil revenue and has signed contracts for an estimated $36 billion worth of food and other supplies. Hussein and his associates took in more than $2 billion this year from illegal sales of oil to Syria as well as kickbacks and smuggling tied to the U.N. humanitarian program.

From January to August of this year, the single biggest customer for Iraq oil has been the United States. Iraq was one of America's largest suppliers, providing 525,000 barrels of oil a day.

Recently, Iraq entertained lavishly at its Baghdad International Fair, and signed more than 20 oil-for-food contracts – worth $500 million – with Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, France and Spain. The 10-day trade fair attracted 1,600 companies representing 49 countries.

This, my friends, is the big business that continues while the "armchair generals" speak of war as though they're talking about a baseball game!

I recall the first and only time we faced a real threat from nuclear attack. We did not embark on a pre-emptive strike that would have led to catastrophe. Eisenhower learned restraint, containment and patience.

Col. Hackworth and George Putnam say there is a better way: Eliminate all of this under-the-table commerce among nations we consider to be our potential present or long-term enemies. Firmly blockade air, land and sea commerce with Iraq, and the need for war will suddenly come to an end.

Before we send 250,000 of the flower of our youth into war, tell the cackling hens and "armchair generals" who never heard a shot fired in anger to stop blathering and SHUT UP!

The legendary George Putnam is 88 years young and a veteran of 68 years as a reporter, broadcaster and commentator ... and is still going strong. George is part of the all-star line-up of Southern California's KPLS Radio – Hot Talk AM 830.

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It is this reporter's opinion that the ink was barely dry on the resolutions admitting inspectors into Iraq before the "armchair generals" and cable anchors began chipping away, suggesting dozens of ways in which Saddam Hussein would violate any agreements. But should...
One,Reporter's,Opinion:,Beware,'Armchair,Generals',and,Blathering,Anchors
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2002-00-15
Friday, 15 November 2002 12:00 AM
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